Tackling childhood obesity must be a priority for the future – Ó Laoghaire
This morning, a report in the Irish Examiner highlighted that 20% of children between 4th and 6th class are overweight.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said that childhood obesity has been an increasing problem among Irish young people for many years, and Ireland is on course to be the most obese nation in Europe by 2030. There is also a direct correlation between those that suffer relative poverty and children who are overweight.
Deputy Ó Laoghaire stated:
“The statistics reported in today’s newspaper are startling. It is indicative of increasing trends. The Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) survey was released by the HSE in collaboration with UCD researchers.
“1 in 5 children are now overweight and more girls than boys are overweight. There is also a direct correlation between those that suffer relative poverty and children who are overweight.
“We remain on course to be the most obese nation in Europe by 2030, and this should ring alarm bells. It is simply not on the political agenda as it should be.
“There are many people doing good work in highlighting these issues, but their voices are not being heard.
“It is well documented that money spent on investing in tackling obesity now is a saving on our health service in the future, so it makes complete sense.
“We must educate both children and their parents, encouraging active healthy lifestyles; all the while bearing in mind that proper nutrition is vital for child development.
“The Healthy Ireland document is light on detail, and we desperately need a National Nutrition policy to be brought forward, and I urge Minister Corcoran Kennedy to deliver that.
“It was also reported that the money generated from the new sugar tax will not be ring-fenced for health purposes.
“This to me seems counterintuitive, as the introduction of such a tax was supposedly to do exactly that.
“Minister Noonan and Minister Harris appear to have strolled us down the garden path in that regard.
“I would call on them both to bring forward their thinking to the 21st century, and see childhood obesity for the emerging issue that it is.”